Ramallah, Palestine (March 3rd, 2019): The board of Directors of Bank of Palestine (BOP) announced the holding of its Annual General Assembly Meeting (AGM) on Thursday, March 28th, 2019 in Ramallah, and via video conference in Gaza. The board recommended to the AGM distribution of $27,000,000 in dividends for the bank’s profits in 2018, a percentage of 13.5% of the bank’s paid in capital.

The recommendation to distribute $27,000,000 to shareholders in proportion to each shareholder’s ownership in paid in capital as of March 27th, 2019 is as follows:

 

  • $23,000,000 as cash dividends, equivalent to 11.5% of the paid in capital;
  • $4,000,000 as stock dividends, equivalent to 2% of the paid in capital.

Mr. Hashim Shawa, Chairman of Bank of Palestine Group said: “We continue to uphold our commitment to the bank’s shareholders in sustained dividends distribution on annual basis. This comes at a time of great strain on the economy and an uncertain geopolitical landscape. We continue to do so, as a result of forging ahead with efforts to mitigate risks and achieve organic growth; while ensuring a robust capital adequacy for the bank in order to maintain its ability to grow.”

Bank of Palestine Group (BOP), has already announced its FY 2018 preliminary financial consolidated results reporting a gross income of USD 231,910,631 in 2018, compared with USD 220,934,607 in 2017, reflecting an increase of 4.97%. The bank’s Profit before tax is USD 69,825,341 compared with USD 72,983,244 in 2017, with a net profit achieved of USD 54,110,093. Total assets reached USD 4,656,104,580 compared with USD 4,884,822,851 at the end of 2017. The Bank’s total shareholders' equity reached USD 415,262,485 compared with USD 449,961,687 at the end of 2017.

Bank of Palestine has adopted a prudent and risk sensitive lending approach in Palestine because of the difficult market conditions and economic stagnation. Bank has started leveraging existing branches and electronic channels while focusing on segmentation, especially among women and youth, reducing cost and enhancing revenue. Customer acquisition will be aided via the official launch of the Mobile Branch under the retail segment focusing on rural areas and remote areas with targeting the unbanked. As part of this strategy the bank will continue investing in electronic banking channels and digitization both at bank and in fintech subsidiary Palpay. More business is slated to be on boarded via digital channels

As the bank continues to move forward, the outlook for 2019 remains focused on ensuring healthy indicators with continued enhancement of the digitization strategy while achieving additional operational efficiencies. Such an outlook will also include relationship building abroad through our Investor Relations, Diaspora Relations Strategy, and International Representative Offices strategy; in support of the group’s investment in digital innovation through sourcing strategic investors, and added value expertise.

Customer deposits reached USD 3,735,178,556 in 2018 compared with USD 3,768,631,970 at end of 2017. The loan portfolio increased to USD 2,687,155,003 compared to USD 2,518,590,540 at the end of 2017 with a growth of 6.69%. In tandem with the growth in the Bank's loan portfolio, the bank is keeping a very acceptable Non-Performing Loan Ratio at around 3.6%.

 

About Bank of Palestine (BOP)

Bank of Palestine has a long embedded presence and experience in Palestine dating back to 1960. Bank of Palestine is constantly growing to be financially inclusive, and socially responsible at the cutting edge of global financial practice and innovation. The bank has the most widespread branch network in Palestine (74 branches), a paid in capital of $200 million, and assets of over USD 4.65 billion, with 1,731 employees serving more than 917,076 customers.  BOP is engaged in retail, corporate, micro & SME, and Diaspora banking operations. BOP is the sole agent for issuing and acquiring Visa, MasterCard and union pay in Palestine with over 5,451 Point of Sale merchant terminals nationwide. BOP is involved in large project finance loan syndications. It adopts a holistic sustainability strategy; and has as such worked with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to develop a stringent risk management & governance structure. BOP has been the leader in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Palestine dedicating 5% of its net profit to community & human development.

Bank of Palestine’s stock (PEX: BOP) has been listed on the Palestine Exchange (PEX) since 2005. It is among the market’s blue chip stocks, and represents more than 11.88% of total PEX market capitalization.  

 

PalPay® – Palestine Payments – As the leading payment platform company PalPay has been successful since inception utilizing the many POS machines and enabling payment of bills from various outlets revolutionizing the payment systems in Palestine. The number of electronic transactions conducted during the year through PalPay® reached more than 16.44 million, an increase of 6% compared with 2017. The company also continued to sign agreements with additional utility companies in Palestine to allow their clients to make e-payments through the PalPay® system. PalPay® has raised to 80 entities the number of service customers using its platform. The company also promoted its services regionally, as it was one of the main sponsors of the Cards and Payments Middle East conference that took place in Dubai. PalPay also was proudly the winner for the biggest worldwide contest in the field of “crisis management and aid” launched by Citi bank (MasterCard, Facebook, Microsoft, IBM and others). PalPay E-Voucher and cash assistance Platform won the first place in the Citi Tech for integrity challenge; a global competition among 2000 international companies, where 103 finalists representing 25 countries vied for awards at six Demo Days. Overall, applicants came from more than 70 countries and 300 cities. 

Al-Wasata Securities has been the fastest growing brokerage company in Palestine playing a major role in the acquisition of new investors into the Palestinian market.  The company ranked number one (out of eight brokerage companies) in Palestine with respect to attracting new investors. It now has a 26.83% market share in terms of number of investors, USD 115 million trading volume in local & regional markets, and more than USD 502 million worth of shares under management.

Arab Islamic Bank (AIB), is the latest subsidiary addition to Bank of Palestine Group, and in essence is the Islamic banking arm for Bank of Palestine, allowing it to provide with its 20 branches Islamic Banking solutions to a growing segment of customers requiring such sharia’ compliant solutions. The bank has assets of USD 1,061,184,764, with net profits in 2018 of USD 7,103,320. The Bank launched its new brand identity in 2018 projecting itself as a leader in modernized Islamic Banking.